Studying Organ in Amsterdam
The organ department of the Conservatorium van Amsterdam is proud of its long tradition of highly qualified education. Illustrious organists such as Anthon van der Horst, Albert de Klerk, Piet Kee, Ewald Kooiman, Hans van Nieuwkoop and Jacques van Oortmerssen taught at the department for many years. Among the renowned alumni who studied organ in Amsterdam are Jan Raas, Leo van Doeselaar, Ben van Oosten and Masaaki Suzuki. And the youngest generation of organists also proves our educational quality: students and graduates regularly stand a good chance at reputed organ competitions at home and abroad.
The organ department offers a varied study programme, which is based on playing historical organs. A number of wonderful and famed organs in and near Amsterdam are used, including the Christian Müller organ at the St. Bavo in Haarlem, the Müller organ at the Waalse Church, the Philbert/Adema organ at the Moses and Aaron Church and the Bätz organ at the Round Lutherean Church in Amsterdam, and the Van Covelens and Van Hagerbeer/Schnitger organ at the St. Laurens Church in Alkmaar.
To stimulate students into becoming versatile, high-level musicians, extensive attention is paid not only to the interpretation of organ music ranging from Early to contemporary, but also to improvisation. The basis for improvising is formed in the course ‘Keyboard Musicianship’. In addition, Miklos Spanyi teaches historical improvisation in monthly group lessons. Collaboration with other departments offers students the opportunity to gain interesting experiences and to develop new perspectives.
Each year the regular curriculum is enriched with many activities, such as masterclasses by renowned visiting teachers from the Netherlands and abroad, concerts (including lunch concerts), projects and excursions. During the academic year 2019-2020, internationally celebrated Louis Robilliard, organist of the Cavaillé-Coll organ at the St. François de Sales Church in Lyon, will give a masterclasses and lessons on French repertory from the 19th and 20th centuries. Another guest teacher will be Birmingham City Organist Thomas Trotter, who will focus on virtuoso repertoire from the 19th and 20th centuries. For these lessons a limited number of places are available to outside students.
Young organ players are also welcome; they can study with Conservatorium van Amsterdam teachers at the Sweelinck Academy.
If you are interested in studying organ at the CvA, you can apply for a trial lesson and visit the weekly group lessons taught on Mondays from 15.00-18.00h at various churches. For more information please contact Pieter van Dijk.
Section representative: Pieter van Dijk
Activities in 2019-2020
* every second Tuesday of the month at 12.00h: lunchtime concert in the Waalse Kerk Amsterdam
* 15 and 29 October (CvA 804), 10 December 2019, 14 January, 11 February, 10 March, 14 April and 12 May: improvisation classes by Miklós Spányi (all classes will be taught at the Waalse Kerk, except those in October)
* 11-13 November 2019 Moses en Aaronkerk: masterclass with Louis Robilliard
* 13-15 February 2020 organ trip to Belgium including a visit to Brussels
* 2-4 March 2020 Moses en Aaronkerk: masterclass with Thomas Trotter
* every Friday in May and June 2018 at 12.00 and 13.00h: cheese market concerts by organ students in the Grote St Laurenskerk Alkmaar
* during the summer there will be Friday afternoon concerts from 13.15-14.15h at the St.Bavo in Haarlem with, among others, Conservatorium van Amsterdam students
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Audition candidates will be selected on the basis of a video recording to be submitted digitally via the application form. Recordings must be received by February 1st at the latest.
1. a number of works from various stylistic periods, such as for example:
• H. Scheidemann - Preambulum or choral arrangement; J.S. Bach - Ich ruf zu dir Herr Jesu Christ
• a selection from VIII Kleine Praeludien und Fugen
• L. Vierne - Arabesque (from 24 Pièces en style libre); J. Langlais
- Pasticcio; H. Distler - a selection from 30 Spielstücke, or works of similar standard
2. to sight-read a simple organ work with pedal and to play a short improvisation
3. candidates are advised to develop some proficiency in a keyboard instrument other than organ, preferably piano
In this phase, the student develops into a fully mature performing musician, who is able to communicate at high technical and stylistic level with his/her audience. Emphasis is placed on the following components:
• a solid and reliable technique and the ability to manage stress
• the ability to deal with historical instruments from several style periods (tone production, registration, etc.)
• mastery of repertoire-specific techniques
• thorough knowledge of performance practice
• communicative ability and personality
There are possibilities for specialization (e.g. in the field of performance practice, pedagogy, improvisation, organ building, etc.)
1. An examination lasting approximately one hour, during which the various style periods are represented. The candidate must demonstrate a high level of artistic and technical ability at the organ. Furthermore, it is assumed that the candidate has knowledge of performance practice in respect of the different musical styles.
2. The candidate must submit a list of repertoire with a proposed programme for the entrance examination to the CvA study secretariat before February 1st. This programme will include a variety of musical styles. The admissions committee will evaluate the proposed programme and make any necessary changes. Programme guidelines and requirements may be obtained from the department co-ordinator.